Chennai: The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken cognizance of the recent oil spill in the Ennore-Manali region of Tamil Nadu. In response to a suo motu case initiated on the oil spill incident involving Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited, the NGT has issued directives for a thorough investigation.
A six-member committee has been appointed by the Bench to conduct on-site inspections in the affected areas on December 11. The committee, consisting of key officials including the Environment and Climate Change Department Secretary, the Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), the Chief Engineer of the Water Resources Department in Chennai Division, the Director of the Fisheries Department, and the Collectors of Chennai and Tiruvallur, is tasked with collecting oil samples from residential areas and submitting a comprehensive report detailing the identified chemicals by December 12.
The NGT’s intervention comes after a viral video depicted dark oil flowing through floodwater in the Ennore area. Following this, a team from TNPCB discovered traces of oil in Buckingham Canal, suggesting a potential mix of oil from CPCL’s premises with floodwater.
During the hearing, the TNPCB counsel clarified that there was no evidence of intentional oil waste discharge. However, the NGT Bench, comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and expert member Satyagopal Korlapati, questioned the characterization of the incident as ‘traces of oil,’ emphasizing the widespread impact of oil sludge across a 5 km stretch encompassing the Manali industrial estate and residential areas.
The Bench also sought information on the actions taken by the Collector and Revenue Department, criticizing the absence of an Expert Committee from the Tamil Nadu government to assess the situation. Additionally, the NGT inquired about the disaster prevention plans of the oil companies, questioning the delayed awareness of the spillage extending up to 5 km. The matter has been adjourned until December 12 for further proceedings.